MANILA, Philippines – An audience in Vatican City got to see Ignacio de Loyola, a Filipino-produced historical film based on the life of Saint Ignatius de Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits (or Society of Jesus). The film screened at the Salle della Filmoteca Vaticana in Vatican City last June 14, Tuesday, and is described as the first Filipino film to do so.
“Ignacio de Loyola became the first Filipino film to screen at this intimate, beautiful theater in the heart of the Vatican,” wrote director Paolo Dy in a Facebook post.
Produced by Jesuit Communications, the media arm of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines, the film features Spanish actors in its cast, including the star, Andreas Muñoz, who played the titular saint and attended the Vatican screening himself.
CBCP News reported that Pope Francis, a member of the Jesuit order himself when he was known as Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, was unable to attend the screening.
However other prominent Jesuits like Fr. Federico Lombardi, SJ, director of the Holy See Press Office; Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica; and Very Rev. Fr. Adolfo Nicolas, SJ, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, were present.
Dy, as quoted by ABS-CBN News, said about their Vatican screening: “We had a good show. Those who watched said that our film reflected a clear idea of who St. Ignatius was.”
“The Ignatius here is represented as a person of great spiritual dynamic, even of spiritual struggle,” La Civiltà Cattolica editor-in-chief Spadaro explained. “At the same time, it represents the interior life in action. So this movie gave me a lot and it is very well done.”
According to CBCP News, Ignacio de Loyola was shot primarily in Navarra and the Basque Country, Spain last year, and post-production, including special effects, was done in the Philippines.
The musical score was done by renowned Filipino composer Ryan Cayabyab, who directed the ABS-CBN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Ateneo Chamber Singers.
A press release quoted in the CBCP report said that the film is “a dramatic retelling of the soldier-saint’s conversion, starting with his former life as a man of vice and violence, continuing through his near-fatal injury at the Battle of Pamplona, his attempts to turn his life towards the light, his intense struggle with guilt and depression, his trial before the Inquisition and his ultimate vindication.”
Jesuit Communications head Emmanuel Alfonso said in a conference for the film, as quoted by CBCP News: “Everyone asks the very basic question what is the meaning of life and that question is always relevant no matter what period of history… It brought him [St. Ignatius] to the answer which is love… If you find your true love then you will find meaning in your life.”
The film is in English, and will premiere in Philippine cinemas on July 27. – Rappler.com
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